When it is time to perform, what time is it? It is time to perform. Are you a singer? Need to give it that three or four minutes of all you have? Or present a two-hour concert? Are you an athlete? Is there a record to be set in this game? A championship to be won? Are you a dad who must defeat the competition to keep your job? A mom with so many demands from all sides that you lose track of yourself? A kid who has no idea which way to go—but must choose? Most of us know how to perform when called on. We have trained and practiced and been through the experience. And when it is time, we go up, go on, and get it done. Most of us—most of the time.
But what about those times you are not up to it? You have a bad cold, or worse, a debilitating flu. A friend has died, or maybe a parent or other family member. Not going on stage, whatever your stage may be, is perfectly understandable. It may mean nothing if you stay home, do not perform as scheduled. But what if you know the scout who can make your career will be in the audience? Or you have to make this sale to get that promotion—or even to hold your job? Perhaps there are no world-shaking results to be gained or lost—it is just your weekly presentation to a few faithful followers. What to do? Stay home with a justified not-my-fault? Go no matter what—show the world how tough you are? Maybe it need be none of these.
Maybe you can perform at your highest level regardless of how you feel. An actor might simply act his way through. After all, that’s what actors do, is it not? Better, think about the possibility of doing what needs to be done no matter how you feel. This does not mean acting. It is about being authentic. Maybe the tenor of your voice will be different this day; perhaps your demeanor not what it usually is. Maybe much about you will be unrecognizable. However, your best attribute—authenticity—is always available to you. Call on it. Release it. Your performance may be somewhat different, but it can be as good as ever, even better, if you give all you have confidently, honestly, authentically. Life doesn’t require that you be the same every day. In fact, it does not allow it. Life does ask for your authentic self, whatever that is, each day. This world loves nothing better than to see you, all of you, show up.
Ray Kenneth Clark